County Comm Pocket Widgy

Pros

  • D-9 Steel is hard but flexible
  • Convenient size
  • Cheap

Cons

  • Too short for prying
  • Few practical uses?

County Comm is fast becoming one of my favorite websites. Despite the mid 90s design and headache inducing navigation, goodies abound for those diligent enough to scroll through pages of widgets and gizmos. Browsing the County Comm website is like pawing through the back rows of your local surplus shop.

That’s how I found the Pocket Widgy. As the story goes, County Comm was asked to provide a pocket sized pry bar for troops in the field to open ammunition crates. Something that would be handy and hardy enough that soldiers would carry it and stop breaking off the tips of their bayonets.

The result is a 4″ long piece of D-9 steel with a slight curve and a nice nail claw. it was so popular that they made a smaller one, the 3″ Micro Widgy. And then, even smaller, the Pico Widgy comes in at 2″. I ended up getting the Pocket and the Micro widgy. I figured having a 3″ pry bar in my pocket may be handy, but a 2″ pry bad was essentially a useless gimmick. Turns out I may have been a touch optimistic.

I presume that the Pocket Widgy performs the task it’s designed for. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you if it does. I don’t have any wood ammo crates laying around. I do have some palettes in the garage though, so I laid the Pocket Widgy into one for about 20 minutes.

Results were mixed at best. Staples and small nails were removed relatively easily, but the slight curve and short length don’t leave a lot of room for leverage. There’s simply not enough curve to form a proper fulcrum.

Maybe it would be better if I used it for the task it was designed for. I jammed the Pocket Widgy in between the slats of the palette and gave it hell. For one of the first times in my life, giving something hell didn’t result in satisfactory results. I jammed, and pried and even did a bunch of swearing, all to no avail. I couldn’t get that slat to separate. Now granted, this palette is hard wood secured with long nails specifically designed to prevent separation. Ammo crates are, well, actually, I don’t know. I presume their made of a soft cheap wood like pine and designed to be opened instead of being designed to stack refrigerators on. In the time I was in the Army, I never actually saw an ammo crate. I’ll give the Pocket Widgy the benefit of the doubt on this. Additionally, I feel I should point out that in the process of trying to pry this slat off, I put my entire weight on the little pry bar, leaning all 200lbs into the stubby bit of steel, and while it did flex a bit, it was not deformed, and it held my weight.

Not satisfied with those tests, I peeped about the garage for something else that needed prying and destruction. I chose a hard drive, and I attacked it with vigor. The Pocket Widgy was adequate to the task of prying up the PCB, easily making toxic little shards of controller card. It was less successful at prying off anything else, or otherwise significantly destroying parts of the drive. My blood lust was not satiated.

So I drove the Pocket Widgy into a pine plank with a hammer. That was pretty satisfying. The Pocket Widgy sank into the wood, and using a little muscle, I popped it out, removing a chunk of the wood with it. The little pry bar suffered no apparent damage. My hand, on the other, hum… hand, was getting a little sore.

Even after I’d wrapped it with 550 cord, the Pocket Widgy was still a bit too small and narrow for comfortable use. I’m pretty sure that if I had to use this thing all day long, I get some pretty beauty blisters.

I really wanted to like the Pocket Widgy. It seems like a perfect little tool on the surface. How can you now like the idea of a pocket sized pry bar. After putting it through some tests, I didn’t even bother with the Micro Widgy. It’s just too short for just any practical use. Despite that, it’s still on my key ring.

I tried the Micro Widgy on a beer the other day, thinking that it would be a good tool for accessing a beverage. Lacking a hook, I just couldn’t get enough leverage to pop the cap. I’m hoping that some day I’ll find a task these things are good at.

The County Comm Pocket Widgy gets a 3/5.

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